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The future of War I
Nanomachies son and programmable cells son.
The concept for this piece was from a Twitter thread I wrote months ago, given the scope and significance at the time, literally deleted it for my own sake. The thread was about how the future of warfare and terrorism are synthetic biology and nanotechnology. Given the massive changes and attention the pandemic brought to various aspects of biology and virology, every single article here is a must-read, the implications are beyond most “experts” forecast.
Here I present the reader with a mere cursory glance of what is to come. After watching both videos and reading some of the articles you might end up in the same place as me and a good friend.
Science fiction now seems far behind reality.
And the best/worst part. Most of this is accessible to anyone, anywhere, without too much investment.
The first recommendation is this video.
As per my Mimetic posts, the future of warfare truly is the brain on more ways than one.
BrainNet: A Multi-Person Brain-to-Brain Interface for Direct Collaboration Between Brains
We present BrainNet which, to our knowledge, is the first multi-person non-invasive direct brain-to-brain interface for collaborative problem solving. The interface combines electroencephalography (EEG) to record brain signals and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to deliver information noninvasively to the brain. The interface allows three human subjects to collaborate and solve a task using direct brain-to-brain communication. Two of the three subjects are designated as “Senders” whose brain signals are decoded using real-time EEG data analysis. The decoding process extracts each Sender’s decision about whether to rotate a block in a Tetris-like game before it is dropped to fill a line. The Senders’ decisions are transmitted via the Internet to the brain of a third subject, the “Receiver,” who cannot see the game screen. The Senders’ decisions are delivered to the Receiver’s brain via magnetic stimulation of the occipital cortex. The Receiver integrates the information received from the two Senders and uses an EEG interface to make a decision about either turning the block or keeping it in the same orientation. A second round of the game provides an additional chance for the Senders to evaluate the Receiver’s decision and send feedback to the Receiver’s brain, and for the Receiver to rectify a possible incorrect decision made in the first round. We evaluated the performance of BrainNet in terms of (1) Group-level performance during the game, (2) True/False positive rates of subjects’ decisions, and (3) Mutual information between subjects. Five groups, each with three human subjects, successfully used BrainNet to perform the collaborative task, with an average accuracy of 81.25%. Furthermore, by varying the information reliability of the Senders by artificially injecting noise into one Sender’s signal, we investigated how the Receiver learns to integrate noisy signals in order to make a correct decision. We found that like conventional social networks, BrainNet allows Receivers to learn to trust the Sender who is more reliable, in this case, based solely on the information transmitted directly to their brains. Our results point the way to future brain-to-brain interfaces that enable cooperative problem solving by humans using a “social network” of connected brains.
The second paper has national security and warfare implications unfathomable to many. The quantum communication technology isn’t even real, and researchers already found a way to hack and it is impossible to patch. (Analog is king I guess)
Entanglement-based secure quantum cryptography over 1,120 kilometres
Quantum key distribution (QKD)1,2,3 is a theoretically secure way of sharing secret keys between remote users. It has been demonstrated in a laboratory over a coiled optical fibre up to 404 kilometres long4,5,6,7. In the field, point-to-point QKD has been achieved from a satellite to a ground station up to 1,200 kilometres away8,9,10. However, real-world QKD-based cryptography targets physically separated users on the Earth, for which the maximum distance has been about 100 kilometres11,12. The use of trusted relays can extend these distances from across a typical metropolitan area13,14,15,16 to intercity17 and even intercontinental distances18. However, relays pose security risks, which can be avoided by using entanglement-based QKD, which has inherent source-independent security19,20. Long-distance entanglement distribution can be realized using quantum repeaters21, but the related technology is still immature for practical implementations
Nanotechnology, specially nanoparticles are the definition of dual use, and they have catastrophic consequences of used as warfare….or terrorism.
The Applications and Implications of Nanotechnology
Last month, the FBI announced charges against two Chinese military officers for infiltrating into the U.S. under false identities to steal U.S. intellectual property. Interestingly, in this instance their target was not proprietary information or U.S. military plans; instead, the spies hoped to glean insight into Harvard’s basic research in the field of nanoscience. This incident highlights that winning the future requires more than just the technologies du jour like AI and hypersonics; even more valuable is the foundational science that underpins these technologies. Unfortunately, nanotechnology and other basic sciences are often excluded from the conversation on emerging technologies.
This article provides an overview of nanotechnology, its applications, and its implications for national security. It then outlines general policy recommendations to mitigate the threats posed by nanotechnology.
Nanotechnology will have applications for other technologies like gene-editing, additive manufacturing (3-D printing), artificial intelligence, spacecraft, and quantum computing. However, nanotechnology’s unique properties and processes merit greater attention from the policy community.
“Nanoparticles are far more reactive and unpredictable than normal chemical/biological particles, but countries do not appreciate this...regulations that offer any meaningful guidance...do not always
6.6 What are the effects of nanoparticles on the environment?
The SCENIHR opinion states:
Colvin’s (2003) discussion on the potential impact of engineered materials demonstrates the lack of data on the exposure and effects of nanoparticles. To date, only a few studies have been carried out with species used for ecotoxicological testing. Oberdörster (2004b) showed the 48 hours LC50 in Daphnia magna for uncoated water soluble fullerenes nC60 is 800 ppb. E. Oberdörster (2004a) demonstrated a significant increase of lipid peroxidation in the brain and glutathione depletion in the gill of juvenile largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) after exposure for 48 hours to 0.5 ppm of fullerenes nC60., but the increase was not significant at 1 ppm.
In their follow-up studies, Oberdörster G et al. (2005) report the possible molecular mechanism of these observations. The bactericidal properties of fullerenes have been reported by Yamakoshi et al (2003). However, considering that a large number of the above cited human toxicology studies have examined the uptake and effects of nanoparticles at a cellular level, it can be hypothesized that these observations may also hold for species other than humans. As such the reports may be useful for the assessment of the effects on environmental species. Work to support this hypothesis is needed. Careful examination and interpretation of existing data and careful planning of new research is, however, required if we are to establish the true ecotoxicity of nanoparticles, and the differences with conventional forms of the substances.
The Body's Own Bioweapons
The next biothreat could come from chemicals derived from the human body that can incapacitate and kill–and which skirt existing arms controls.
Bioregulators, a class of natural chemicals in the human body, control such vital functions as heart rate, respiration, temperature, sleep, mood, and the immune response. Examples of these molecules include angiotensin, which raises blood pressure; vasopres-sin, which regulates the body's water balance; Substance P, which transmits pain messages from peripheral receptors to the central nervous system; and bradykinin, which triggers inflammation in response to tissue injury. (Many bioregulators are peptides, or short protein fragments made up of fewer than 50 amino acid units.) The pharmaceutical industry is developing new drugs based on bioregulators to correct physiological imbalances caused by disease.
…where it was inserted into a bacterium called Legionella. When guinea pigs were infected with the engineered bacteria, the microbes multiplied in the host and released myelin basic protein, triggering an autoimmune reaction that caused death by paralysis in about two weeks.6 According to Ken Alibek (aka Ka-natjan Alibekov), a former senior official in the Soviet biological warfare program, this experiment was considered a breakthrough: “For the first time, we would be capable of producing weapons based on chemical substances produced naturally by the human body. They could damage the nervous system, alter moods, trigger psychological changes, and even kill…
Of particular concern are drugs that affect the brain by interacting with receptor sites for peptide neurotrans-mitters or neuromodulators (chemicals released from secretory cells that act on a local region of the central nervous system to modulate the response of nerve cells to neurotransmitters). Given the vast and lucrative market for psycho-active drugs that relieve pain, depression, insomnia, and other mental ailments, pharmaceutical companies are intensively researching the functions of peptide neurotransmitters and neuromodulators in the brain. Exploiting this knowledge, bioregulator-based weapons that affect the brain could be designed to render subjects rapidly unconscious, to impair mental functioning, or to affect emotions or cognition.
Memories Can Be Altered in Mice. Are Humans Next?
Ongoing experiments that may one day treat a variety of mental conditions have experts debating the promise and the perils.
A Successful Artificial Memory Has Been Created
Using laboratory animals, investigators reverse engineered a specific natural memory by mapping the brain circuits underlying its formation. They then “trained” another animal by stimulating brain cells in the pattern of the natural memory. Doing so created an artificial memory that was retained and recalled in a manner indistinguishable from a natural one.
Memories are essential to the sense of identity that emerges from the narrative of personal experience. This study is remarkable because it demonstrates that by manipulating specific circuits in the brain, memories can be separated from that narrative and formed in the complete absence of real experience. The work shows that brain circuits that normally respond to specific experiences can be artificially stimulated and linked together in an artificial memory. That memory can be elicited by the appropriate sensory cues in the real environment. The research provides some fundamental understanding of how memories are formed in the brain and is part of a burgeoning science of memory manipulation that includes the transfer, prosthetic enhancement and erasure of memory. These efforts could have a tremendous impact on a wide range of individuals, from those struggling with memory impairments to those enduring traumatic memories, and they also have broad social and ethical implications.
This entire article is worth reading and has massive implications for intelligence